CAR

Humanitarian Update: Central African Republic 07 Mar 2003

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Highlights
The Political Dialogue process is proceeding. Consultations are underway and a Preparatory Committee is being put in place. The Coordinators of the Dialogue process returned this week from consultations in Europe and the United States and have presented their recommendations to President Patassé whose reaction is now awaited. The government intensified military activity in mid-February, launching a counter-offensive and retaking three major cities some of which had been occupied by rebels for over three months in some cases. Rebel threats to recapture these towns do not augur well for humanitarian access. 600 people have fled fighting between MLC and CAR troops in South Western CAR border town of Mongoumba, and taken refuge in Bétou in Northern Congo Brazzaville. The town is said to have suffered widespread looting by MLC troops. Humanitarian access has significantly improved and the UN has been able to access areas in the Centre (Damara and Sibut) that were previously occupied by the rebels, while international NGOs have accessed the areas recently recaptured by the government in the North of the country (Bossangoa and Bozoum). There has been significant movement of populations across the border into Chad. UNHCR is working on a planning figure of some 20,000 CAR refugees in Southern Chad and daily trickles of up to 150 people cross the border everyday, down from 1000 a day in mid February. Lateral movement of populations is also reported and could constitute a significant IDP situation once assessments, currently hampered by the ongoing fighting, are conducted. An assessment is urgently needed to determine how much of the CAR’s cereal needs estimated by WFP at 527,000 tons a year can be met from existing food stocks within the population and from the next harvest, in the unlikely assumption that people in the most affected areas will be in a position to plant in time for the next rains. FAO estimates that an additional 2,855 tons of seeds (maize, sorghum, paddy, cassava, groundnuts, etc) are needed to salvage the planting season in accessible areas.

The looting of agricultural infrastructure in the North, especially cotton ginning infrastructure, and the inability to evacuate produce from the cotton producing areas has seriously jeopardized the lives of the rural population in these Northern areas, whose mainstay is agriculture. The Health situation is precarious, fast deteriorating, and aggravated by the flight of populations into the bushes to escape violence by combatants from both sides in the conflict. UN Agencies (UNICEF, WHO) and international NGOs (MSF, COOPI) are taking over Health Centres in various areas to meet emergency needs while trying to rehabilitate government structures. Additional requirements are envisaged in the Flash Appeal. The precarious situation of education in the occupied areas has taken a further serious blow. Infrastructure has been destroyed by looters, and 989 pre-schools, primary schools, and colleges, were forced to close down because of the fighting, affecting some 170,874 pupils and students, and 2,492 teachers. To salvage the situation, assistance in the form of teaching materials, equipment, repairs, books and teachers’ salaries must be urgently considered. In the past month, ECHO (European Union) and OCHA have conducted missions to CAR and expressed their readiness to support humanitarian partners through the Flash Appeal and other similar instruments to follow later. Discussions have also been held with them on possible support to strengthen coordination.

The UN and humanitarian partners are currently finalizing a Flash Appeal focusing on Health, Food and Security. As access improves, a broader appeal with longer planning horizons (6 to 12 months) will be envisaged. A multisectoral and multi-partner mission led by the World Bank and UNDP will take place from 10 to 23 March and, among other things, will focus on the continuum between humanitarian emergency assistance and medium term recovery goals.

Political Developments

Preparations for the National Dialogue called for by all political actors including President Patassé are presently ongoing. All Central Africans and political observers seem to agree that only such a dialogue, open to all segments of society, including the armed rebellion, can provide a lasting solution to CAR’s relapsing crises. A Preparatory Committee is being created. The Coordinators appointed by President Patassé to lead the consultative and preparatory process have conducted broad consultations with various segments of CAR society. They returned this week from a trip to Europe and the United States where they consulted with the Opposition, under the banner of the "Coordination des Patriotes Centrafricains" (CPC) including leaders of the armed rebellion, as well as with European, American and UN partners of the CAR. They have met with, and presented their findings and recommendations to President Ange Félix Patassé, who is expected to provide his reaction. The initial joint statements issued by the Coordinators and the CPC seem to indicate some convergence of views, especially on the need for at least the first stages of the dialogue process to take place outside the country.

Update on known military activity

Starting from mid-February, the government launched a vast counter-offensive against the armed rebellion. The loyalist forces, backed by the MLC troops of Jean Pierre Bemba (DRC), have retaken the towns of Sibut, midway between Bangui and the North, as well as Bossangoa and Bozoum further North, all of which had been occupied by the rebels for over three months following the attempted military coup in October 2002, and which had effectively split the country in two. While the town of Sibut was retaken without any fighting, fierce fighting preceded the fall of Bozoum and Bossangoa with significant though as yet unspecified casualties. The fact that some of the towns were taken without fighting, and the absence of any rebel prisoners, seems to indicate that the rebels might still have significant capacity left to launch counter-offensives or incursions as they have done in the past. They presently claim to have effected a tactical retreat and have promised to counterattack to recapture ground lost in the past three weeks. In the past week days, lorry loads of MLC fighters have been transiting through Bangui to the border town of Zongo in the DRC, taking with them several tons of assorted items that appear to have been looted from the recaptured cities. Generally, the MLC troops arrive in the CAR with no such property and it would be difficult to explain this situation otherwise. Some notable tension has been reported from across the Oubangui river in Zongo by MLC troops returning from Bangui, in protest over unpaid salaries and allowances, and lack of medical treatment for those wounded in the CAR fighting and presently in the hospital in Zongo. This tension has so far not affected security in Bangui where the situation remains calm but for numerous cases of armed robbery. Zongo was the exit used by the UN to evacuate its non-essential staff during the fighting in Bangui in October 2002. As of the first week of March, government forces have not made any additional significant gains in terms of recapturing lost territory, beyond the capture of Sibut, Bossangoa and Bozoum. Parts of the North remain under rebel control, and it is unclear what the rebels intend to do after losing three of their major cities. If, as they have announced, further counter-offensives are envisaged on their part, then the humanitarian situation will undoubtedly worsen, as access becomes even more hazardous. This week fighting was reported in the town of Mongoumba on the border with the DRC between the CAR army and MLC troops after the latter attempted crossing back into the DRC with their loot. 600 refugees have fled the village and taken refuge in Betou in Northern Congo Brazzaville, and the town of Mongounba is said to have suffered heavily from widespread looting by the MLC troops. This is the first time that fighting has been reported between MLC troops and CAR loyalist forces. It is also the first time that any serious armed confrontations have been reported in the South Western region of the country since the present conflict started in October 2002. The government is reported to be taking appropriate measures to calm the situation.

Food

More than half of the CAR’s population of 3.7 million has been directly affected by rebel occupation, or by being cut off from supply lines due to the rebel presence over the past four months and by the continuing fighting in the North of the country. The areas occupied by rebels until recently are the breadbasket of the capital, as well as the main supply centres for seeds. The occupation of these areas posed a serious food security problem, as well as a drastic drop in income for the people who live there, as well as for the population of Bangui which, for its part, has suffered from reduced economic activity, combined with reduced food supply and a corresponding rise in food prices. As a result of displacement, certain groups are at risk, such as babies and small children, pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, the handicapped, etc. As mentioned in previous reports, the nearly four-month long lack of access to the Northern and Eastern parts of the CAR has seriously compromised agricultural potential, and aggravated the food situation of the country. The population in the food producing areas of the country have been unable to pursue their activities due to the prevailing insecurity, and to the fact that much of the agricultural infrastructure, including seed producing units and research centers have been looted and destroyed. Harvesting was interrupted by the insecurity following the attempted coup, and, in some areas that produce fruits and vegetables, much of the October 2002 harvest rotted, as it could not be transported to the market in Bangui and other markets. The 2003 agricultural season is already being disrupted, as fields are not being prepared for planting. Planting seeds have been largely consumed, and the distribution network is not functioning. Livestock has been looted, destroyed or consumed by combatants.

WFP estimates CAR cereal needs at 527,000 tons a year. It is difficult at this stage to know what percentage of this will be met by current food availability within the population and by the next harvest season. The current fighting in the North of the country has made it impossible to conduct the kind of detailed assessments needed to determine realistic needs in this most affected part of the country. Missions in recent days to border areas, as well as to Bozoum and Bossangoa by the European Union (ECHO) and COOPI, have reported that a number of cassava farms in Bozoum remain intact, and that traditional food items are available in some areas, although at unusually cheap prices, given the impossibility of evacuating such produce to other cities. On the other hand, some basic necessities like sugar, salt, soap, etc are extremely scarce and, where available, are extremely expensive. However, for in order to obtain a clearer picture of the food and seed situation and its likely impact on the population some months down the road, additional missions will be needed to undertake further assessments in consultation with farmers and the local authorities. In any case, it is clear that the rural population in these areas, the vast majority of whom are still returning from their hide-outs, will find it extremely difficult to cope with everyday emergency needs and still make the time needed to prepare their farms in time for planting for the upcoming season (Mid-March). Within the framework of the Flash Appeal being prepared, FAO currently estimates that an additional 2,855 tons of seeds of various food varieties, including maize, groundnuts, rice, sorghum, cassava, etc., will be needed to salvage the planting season in presently accessible areas (where there is currently no ongoing fighting).

Health

As a result of the extended lack of access, including especially to the East and North of the country, information on the health situation outside of Bangui remained difficult to obtain. The most noteworthy activity that has suffered from this lack of access remains to date the joint vaccination programme, initially planned for December 2002 in a synchronized approach with the other CEMAC countries (Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Chad and Cameroon) and which was indefinitely postponed. One of the most urgent problems to be resolved regarding the health sector remains the re-supply of essential medical supplies to the 4th and 5th health zones which were completely cut off from Bangui which is the main source of such supplies. The impact of the conflict on the health structures in these zones has been disastrous. The Regional Supply Centre for Essential Medicines (CRAME) in Bossangoa was completely looted and destroyed during fighting in the town. Even in those areas where pharmaceutical depots were spared, the lack of fuel for cold storage has led to the destruction of virtually all vaccine stocks in these zones. Presently, the Humanitarian Health group is working with officials of the Ministry of Health to determine those parts of the country where urgent assessments are needed in both government- and rebel-held areas. In the meantime, UN and humanitarian agencies are negotiating on a one-on-one basis with missionary authorities in some of the occupied towns in order to convey vital medical supplies. Over the past two months, UNICEF was able to send medical supplies through Catholic Mission flights to Bambari, Mobaye, Bangassou, and Obo. UNICEF presently plans to pursue its support to rehabilitate Health Centres in the IV, V, VI Divisions and to provide shelter (ground sheets) and water bottles to Bozoum and Mbrès.

The recent field missions have revealed that while the equipment in most of the health facilities in nearly all cities affected by the fighting were looted, a significant part of the infrastructure has remained intact and can be put to use without major reconstruction or repair work. Health personnel in many areas managed to stay around in the cities despite the violence, and those who fled have started to return in some areas. This is a positive sign that the resumption of health assistance to the most vulnerable populations in these areas would still have something to build upon. It is in this light that the UN mission to Damara and Sibut, and the ECHO mission to the North have all recommended that action be taken soonest to make the health centers functional once again and to provide basic start-up supplies. They both feel that UN presence in these areas should happen sooner rather than later. For this to happen, however, security conditions would have to be strengthened for humanitarian partners in the areas concerned. The UN security system in Bangui is presently ill-equipped to provide such security support and would need to be considerably strengthened to meet this challenge.

The situation in Damara, Sibut, Bozoum and Bossangoa which have all been recaptured by the government in latest offensive launched in mid-February 2003, is proof that the health situation in all recaptured areas, as well as in those areas that have been extensively looted by government allied troops will need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. In effect, along the whole 75 km stretch of road from Bangui to Damara, none of the Health Centres and Health Posts are operational. For fear of being harassed and looted, all medical personnel had fled not only the Health centers but their homes as well. During the recent UN/NGO/Government mission to Damara and Sibut more information was obtained on the extent of the systematic looting of administrative structures by the rebel troops, and of the civilian population by the MLC troops. MSF has assumed responsibility for the functioning of Health Centres in PK-22, Bossembele, Damara, Sibut, as well as the Malnutrition Unit of the Pediatric Complex in Bangui. Further North, the Organisation has also taken charge of the Health Centres in Kabo, Batangafo, Moyen Sido, Dekoa, Bouca and Kaga Bandoro, all of which, as of the time of writing this report, are still known to be controlled by the CAR rebellion.

Education

As is the case with Health and food security, the Education sector is a major casualty of CAR multifarious crisis and requires special attention if CAR is to avoid sacrificing a whole generation of youth. In the zones previously and currently held by the rebellion, there has been a clearly negative impact on all schools. Buildings have been damaged and benches, tables, book stores, and teaching manuals looted. UNICEF estimates that some 989 pre-schools, primary schools, and colleges, have been closed, affecting some 170,874 pupils and students, and 2,492 teachers. In addition, some 2,000 students and 200 teachers from the occupied areas have arrived in Bangui over the past four months, and have registered in various institutions in the capital, thus putting the already fragile structures of the city under further pressure.


Schools affected by fighting in occupied areas
Type of Institution
Number of schools affected
Number of students
Number of Teachers
Pre-schools
58
1,779
45
Primary Schools
891
152,443
2,119
Colleges and High Schools
40
16,652
328

The government and partners involved in the education sector have suggested a number urgent steps that need to be taken once access is fully re-established in the previously occupied areas. These include: 1.) An evaluation mission to ascertain the above information and obtain other vital information needed to plan emergency assistance to the sector; 2.) Provide emergency assistance in the form of equipment, furniture, alternative shelter, books, teaching manuals and other materials, etc; and 3.) Payment by donors and other partners (as was the case in Chad and Congo) of teachers’ salaries, including public sector teachers (some of whom have not been paid for up to 10 months), and payment of allowances to community-recruited support personnel (agents communautaires).

Humanitarian Access

Two United Nations humanitarian assessment missions, one initially scheduled for 6 to 17 February to all the Northern cities occupied the rebels since October 2003, and the other to Bouar in the East, were both postponed by the Government for security reasons. Following the announcement of the recapture of Sibut, Bozoum and Bossangoa, the government has now authorized humanitarian assessments to resume. An initial assessment was conducted on 26 February in the towns of Damara and Sibut (see report attached in annex). Further missions will be conducted progressively as the fighting in the Northern cities diminishes and security improves. For security reasons, UN agencies might have to wait another week to ascertain access to the major Northern cities previously occupied by the rebels. International NGOs (MSF and COOPI) however continue to access these areas through the South of Chad, an approach that the Government has so far not authorized for the UN Agencies. These missions have been providing invaluable information for joint continued assessment of the situation. Apart from fears of rebel incursions, humanitarian access is also hampered by roadblocks set up by the MLC troops of Jean Pierre Bemba, and by units of the Central African army, notably on the road to Boar. As of the last week of February, the Bangui-Bouar Road was particularly affected with some 37 military roadblocks at least. Several lorry drivers from Cameroon have in recent days refused to come to the CAR in protest over these roadblocks which systematically require all drivers to pay a fee, a kind of unofficial toll to soldiers at those barriers before they are allowed to continue their journey. At several roadblocks drivers are forced to deposit up to 35 litres of fuel, and there have been reports of vehicles that have run out of fuel as a result and been packed on the road side. At a meeting of humanitarian partners and donors on 25 February, the Planning Minister promised to take up the issue at a scheduled Cabinet Meeting. The Minister Delegate for Defence also revealed that measures had already been taken to provide armed escorts for the lorry drivers. He further promised UN Agencies that similar measures would be taken if it came to conveying humanitarian supplies to the needy.

Population Displacement

UN-NGO-Government missions in recent days to Damara and Sibut, and MSF, ECHO and COOPI missions to the border area, as well as to Bozoum and Bossangoa, have confirmed the fact that large numbers of people are still staying away from the recaptured cities for fear of being victimized by either rebel or government forces, or by MLC troops. These missions have estimated the percentage of the population still present in these towns at less than 30%, with the current population presence in Bossangoa estimated at around 1% (one percent) of its October 2002 levels. While most confirmed population movements continue to be across the border into the south of Chad, there are suspected lateral population movements into other border villages or into the bushes. After a steady flow of around 1000 (one thousand) in mid February when the government counter-offensive was launched, UNHCR now reports that these numbers have now dropped to around 150 persons a day. HCR’s contingency planning for CAR refugees in the South of Chad is current based on a figure of around 20,000. In towns such as Bozoum where the local administration officials have returned the population is feeling much more reassured to return although complete confidence is yet to be re-established. Until such confidence is built and populations return, humanitarian assistance will be difficult to provide and administer. It is worth noting here that while recent population movements have affected mostly people of Chadian origin living in the North of CAR, earlier reported population movements across the border as far back as November 2002, made up mainly of Central Africans, had been attributed to the initial arrival of the rebel forces of General Bozizé.

Protection

The excitement of the local population noticed upon arrival of the recent humanitarian missions to the above-mentioned cities is clear proof of the fact that the local population in these towns needs a reassuring neutral presence in order to feel protected. Up to now, each recapture of a given city has been followed by a period that the ECHO-COOPI mission estimated at around two weeks during which the liberating forces were free to roam the recaptured cities and loot and harass the local population with impunity. The looting by MLC forces in Bangui, Bossembele, Damara, Sibut, and Bozoum, all followed this pattern and shows that it is extremely important for some presence of the international community to be assured soon after troops from any side in the conflict move into a city. On this same score, it is now urgent for human rights organizations or other partners establish a permanent presence in all of the cities under government and rebel control. As mentioned above, it is hoped that an expanded UN Security support system could facilitate such presence.

Current Coordination Initiatives

The Humanitarian Group, facilitated by the UN Resident Coordinator is currently working on a Flash Appeal which should be available in the next 10 days. It is based on the information garnered by various UN and NGO missions to different parts of the country. This first appeal will cover essentially three areas, namely Health and Sanitation, Food Security, and the creation of a Humanitarian Security System to support humanitarian action in those parts of the country that are likely to remain volatile for some time to come, due to uncontrollable armed elements. An OCHA mission has recently taken place and provided support to the newly created Coordination Unit. Further support is needed in strengthening the humanitarian information system, and in supporting resource mobilization. In view of the worsening humanitarian situation especially in the Northern and Central parts of the country, the UN and humanitarian partners will need a system that not only monitors but continually analyses the implications of the ongoing crisis on the evolving humanitarian situation. For this to happen, the Coordination Unit will need extra staffing.

ANNEX

Rapport de la mission conjointe d’évaluation humanitaire Damara, Sibut, 26 Février 2003

Introduction

1. Une mission précurseur conjointe d’évaluation s’est rendue à Damara et à Sibut en date du 26 février 2003 dans un déplacement aller-retour. Co-dirigée par M.Djada (Chargé de Mission au Ministère des Affaires Sociales) et M. David Bulman (Représentant du PAM) elle comprenait, en outre, des représentants des Ministères de l’Economie, de la Défense, de la Commission Européenne, des agences des Nations Unies(BONUCA, FAO, FNUAP, HCR, OMS, PAM, PNUD, UNICEF),et des ONG.La liste détaillée des membres sera versée en annexe.

2. Elle devait permettre d’apprécier les conditions sécuritaires réelles sur le terrain et de dresser un état des lieux rapide des besoins d’assistance humanitaire des populations de ces localités à la suite de leur occupation par les forces rebelles depuis le mois d’octobre.

3. Des visites sur les marchés, dans les formations sanitaires, dans les établissements scolaires de même que des témoignages des populations obtenus au moyen de contacts directs ont constitué les principales sources des informations qu’elle a recueillies. En l’absence des plus hautes autorités administratives, elle a tenu deux séances de briefing avec les notables pour compléter et confirmer les informations collectées par ailleurs.

4. Sur cette base, elle a établi des constats qui peuvent être résumés selon les axes suivants :

II/Constats

Sécurité routière/urbaine

5. Le siège de Sibut a débuté le 29 octobre 2002 pour prendre fin le 14 février 2003. En revanche, Damara a connu une libération plus rapide.

6. Dans ces deux villes, les centres administratifs ont particulièrement souffert des pillages et des destructions ; actes qui auraient été perpétrés tant par les groupes rebelles que par les troupes gouvernementales appuyées par leurs alliés.

7. Avec le retour progressif des populations dans les centres urbains, ceux-ci retrouvent une certaine animation. Celle-ci est plus frappante sur les marchés. Les retours sont estimés à 38% pour Damara-centre et de deux tiers pour Sibut, soit 3.000 habitants sur une population de 8.000 habitants pour la première localité et 15.000 personnes sur 22.000 pour la seconde.

8. Certes, la voie est ouverte à la circulation sur l’axe nord reliant Bangui à Sibut en passant par Damara. A l’exception de barrières (somme toute discrètes) tenues par les militaires loyalistes à l’entrée et à la sortie des villes, il ne subsiste plus aucun autre barrage, même les péages ne sont plus opérationnels.

9. Le trafic reste, toutefois, quelque peu hésitant. Le tronçon Bangui-Damara est le plus fréquenté. La quinzaine de véhicules que la mission a croisés sur le chemin sont tous des taxis-brousse surchargés de fret (toute nature) et de personnes. En dehors d’un véhicule appartenant à des religieux, les deux seuls qui ont été rencontrés entre Damara et Sibut étaient sous le contrôle des militaires.

10. Les déplacements à pieds sont les modes de transports les plus répandus ; les personnes se déplaçant ainsi utilisent les brouettes et les pousse-pousse pour le transport des effets et marchandises. Ils prennent l’allure de migrations vers la zone la plus sécurisée qui est Bangui.

11. Bien avant la reconquête des villes, la communauté tchadienne qui vivait à Damara et à Sibut, se serait, par des convois organisés, retirée au Tchad. Parmi elles des femmes redevables de crédits dus au Crédit Mutuel de Centrafrique qui a également été pillé et à d’autres structures de micro-crédits.

Sécurité alimentaire : Dans les zones visitées, la production agricole est très affectée par les évènements politico-militaires avec les vols et pillages de production et d’équipements agricoles. Les reliquats de produits agricoles volés et auto-consommés et les produits de première nécessité commencent à faire leur apparition sur les marchés (bord de route et centres urbains). Il reste cependant difficile d’affirmer si le stock actuel de produits agricoles couvrira, pendant les deux prochains mois, la demande potentielle des populations environnantes et celle des grands centres de consommation. En outre, la viande de bœufs fait défaut à Damara. Tant à Damara qu’à Sibut, les éleveurs ont trouvé refuge en forêt profonde.

12. L’alimentation des populations est dominée par l’autoconsommation de produits végétaux sans compensation, sur une base régulière, par des protéines d’origine animale ; même les chenilles et les termites plus abordables, habituellement, ont disparu. 13. La malnutrition est pressente : des cas de morbidité et des cas de malnutrition graves sont notés 14. Les principales productions agricoles se composent, pour la région de Damara, de : arachides, manioc et sésame. Les mêmes se retrouvent à Sibut sauf les arachides mais avec les patates douces, le maïs et le coton en plus. 15. Le faible stock des semences existant n’est pas traité et convenablement conditionné ; ce qui les expose au risque d’attaques par les insectes. Une partie est commercialisée, à la recherche de liquidités pour faire face aux besoins fondamentaux d’alimentation ou autres. 16. Les produits agricoles sont frappés de méventes sévères. Elles se reflètent dans la modicité des prix. Le prix de la cuvette de manioc est tombé de 1.500 FCFA à 600 FCFA ;celui des patates douces de 1.200FCFA à 200 FCFA.

17. Le coton qui a été récolté n’a pas été écoulé pour permettre l’accès à des revenus monétaires.

18. Cette situation retentit négativement non seulement sur les revenus des paysans mais aussi sur leur moral. Découragés, ils ont perdu l’enthousiasme à procéder à la récolte de la totalité des productions. A titre d’exemple, les patates qui sont présentées à la vente présentent des signes d’attaques par des insectes par suite d’un long enfouissement.

19. Les produits manufacturés de première nécessité sont disponibles mais d’accès difficile au regard de leurs prix. Pendant l’occupation, l’approvisionnement a continué par le fleuve jusqu’à Possel et de là, à pieds jusqu’à Sibut. Une partie arrivait par le Tchad(principalement le sucre, le sel). Le kg de sucre se vend à 2.250 FCFA contre 750FCFA, habituellement. Le litre de pétrole lampant est à 1.800FCFA contre 600 FCFA en période normale. Le litre d’essence est passé de 665 FCFA à 1.500FCFA. La mesure de sel, fort réduite, est proposée à 200 FCFA contre 50FCFA. Le prix du morceau de savon a été multiplié par quatre.

20. Le paradoxe de baisse de revenus combinée avec un renchérissement des produits de première nécessité représente une menace sérieuse pour la sécurité alimentaire et pour les conditions de vie des populations. 21. Les échoppes tenues traditionnellement par les membres de la communauté tchadienne ont fait l’objet de pillages systématiques. En revanche, les infrastructures physiques les marchés n’ont pas subi de grands dégâts.

Santé et nutrition

22. Des cas de décès ont été rapportés dans les campements en brousse dont pour la plupart des enfants suite de la précarité de leurs conditions de vie. 23. Des naissances et certaines précoces ont été constatées en brousse et à domicile.

24. Une forte augmentation de la malnutrition a été constatée chez les enfants et de sous-alimentation chez les mères allaitantes, appelant une assistance alimentaire d’urgence.

25. Dans l’ensemble, les centres de santé ont été pillés (lits vidés de leurs matelas, matériel opératoire, matériel roulant etc.) 26. Les dépôts pharmaceutiques sont pillés 27. Le personnel de santé dispersés 28. Rupture des réactifs labo.

29. Au niveau de la maternité, pas de produits S/R et matériel minimum d’accouchement

30. Des centres de soins pédiatriques ont été épargnés par les pillages. Ils ont repris leur fonctionnement avec leur personnel propre appuyé par les agents locaux de la Croix Rouge centrafricaine. 31. Dans le domaine pharmaceutique, les produits disponibles sont ceux des marchands ambulants en provenance des laboratoires du Nigeria.

Education

32. Aucun établissement scolaire n’est encore devenu opérationnel.

III/Conclusions et recommandations

33. Après les opérations de reconquête, les forces alliées aux troupes gouvernementales seraient reparties vers le sud plutôt que vers le nord. Désormais, la sécurité dans les villes et sur les voies est assurée par les forces armées régulières centrafricaines qui s’organiseraient pour progresser sur Dékoa et Kaga-Bandoro.

34. La reprise des villes de Damara et de Sibut est une réalité. Selon toute apparence, l’évolution des conditions sécuritaires présente des signes encourageants pour justifier la mise en place d’une assistance humanitaire sous certaines réserves.

Recommandations à :

Gouvernement :

35. Prendre des mesures pour rendre opérationnel les formations sanitaires des zones visitées ;

36. Renforcer avec l’appui des Agences spécialisées en santé la surveillance épidémiologique pour éviter la survenue d’épidémies ; 37. Procéder à l exhumation des corps enterrés sommairement ; 38. Encourager le retour des autorités administratives à leurs postes d’affectation ; 39. Créer les conditions pour faciliter le déploiement de l’assistance envisagée ; 40. Prendre des mesures pour rendre opérationnelles les Formations sanitaires ; 41. Renforcer avec l’appui des Agences spécialisées la surveillance épidémiologique ; 42. Procéder à l’exhumation des corps sommairement enterrés ; 43. Rétablir le courant d’affaires direct entre Bangui et ces villes en organisant l’écoulement des produits agricoles et le ravitaillement en produits de première nécessité. A cet effet, une escorte pourrait, de manière provisoire, être mise en place pour accompagner les opérateurs économiques privés sur les lieux, en attendant le retour total de la confiance.

Toutes les agences des Nations Unies :

PNUD-FNUAP-UNICEF

44. Réactiver l’appui aux activités génératrices de revenus pour favoriser le retour rapide à l’autonomie économique des populations. Dans ce sens, les aider à reconstituer, rapidement, leurs actifs productifs ; 45. Elargir aux zones touchées les activités du Projet CAF/02/004 « Assistance humanitaire aux femmes victimes de viols et violences » (Appui psychologique, médical, social, etc.) ;

FNUAP –OMS-UNICEF:

46. Assurer le minimum de Service de Santé et de la Reproduction (produits et matériels SR) ; 47. Apporter un appui pour la relance de la chaîne de froid ; 48. Renouveler les stocks de médicaments et matériels ; 49. Apporter un appui pour assurer une surveillance nutritionnelle accrue dans les zones touchées ;

FAO :

50. Diligenter une assistance en semences (arachides, maïs, manioc, sésame, ..) et en animaux destinés au petit élevage familial à cycle court (poulets, caprins, porcins,..) pour sauver la campagne agricole et assurer le ravitaillement rapide en sources de protéines animales ;

PAM :

51. apporter une assistance rapide aux enfants malnutris et aux femmes enceintes/ allaitantes à travers les centres pédiatriques SMI/CRN.

Missions futures d’assistance humanitaire :

Les mesures à prendre interpellent tous les partenaires tant nationaux qu’internationaux. Dans l’ensemble, les membres de la mission sont dotés d’une bonne capacité rapide d’évaluation. Ces dispositions visent à :

52. Obtenir une coopération sans réserve de la part des autorités gouvernementales par la mise à disposition des informations les plus complètes sur la situation sécuritaire dans les zones à visiter, de même que par leur présence effective dans les missions. Il est à noter que les informations reçues de la part des autorités gouvernementales ne comportaient pas toutes les précisions requises. Selon les populations à Sibut, la sécurité au-delà de Sibut n’est pas encore garantie ;

53. Associer l’équipe de la coordination au déroulement des missions sur le terrain pour assurer la cohérence entre le programme de la mission et son exécution ainsi que pour donner une assistance à la préparation du rapport final;

54. Veiller au respect des consignes de tous ordres, dont entre autres, les heures de regroupements. La partie gouvernementale, au départ de Bangui et les représentants de deux agences onusiennes, au départ de Sibut, ont fait enregistrer, un retard cumulé d’une heure vingt cinq (45 minutes pour la première et 40 minutes pour les seconds). Ce temps aurait dû être mis à profit pour des briefings plus longs avec les notables et aussi pour le débriefing de la mission et le partage des observations ; faute de temps celui-ci n’a pu avoir lieu.

55. Garder le même dispositif d’escorte militaire impliquant le recours à deux véhicules positionnés à l’arrière et à l’avant, et veiller à une bonne coordination de leurs actions (si nécessaire, au moyen d’une station relais à installer, au milieu du convoi );

56. Maintenir, constamment et de différentes manières, le contact avec la base du FSO à Bangui. En cas de perte de contact aux heures prévues, donner immédiatement l’alerte.

United Nations System of Operational Activities for Development in the Central African Republic
Office of the Resident Coordinator
Avenue de l’Indépendance
B.P. 872
Bangui, RCA
Tél: (236) 61 19 77
Fax: (236) 61 17 32
E-mail: registry.cf@undp.org